2020 saw many people step out into their garden, patio or balcony and turn it into a green oasis, providing space for mindfulness, family-time and, when allowed, socialising too. With 75% of Brits gardening more than usual last year, and many people picking up a trowel for the first time, 2021 is all about perfecting the art of gardening with minimum fuss.
Gardening is beneficial for both our physical and mental wellbeing, making it a fantastic pastime. However, it doesn’t have to take up all of our free time (if you don’t want it to); to make life a little bit easier, Miracle-Gro’s Gardening Guru, Kate Turner has shared her gardening tips for beginners that you can do this spring to get the most out of your garden with 15 quick jobs, each taking only 15 minutes. Whenever you get your gardening fix, a quiet drawn-out Sunday afternoon or in-between Zoom calls, you can fit these jobs in.
Kate comments: “Gardening is a great break for our minds during busy days and doing something as simple as raking your lawn for 15 minutes gives you the opportunity to pause and refresh, not to mention a great excuse to get outdoors. If you have children, it’s great to get them involved and excited about what you can grow and enjoy together.”
Plan your plants: Review your planned growing site to ensure that it’s the best spot for optimum growth. Most edible plants, including fruit, vegetables and herbs need at least six hours of sun per day in order to thrive, so choose a sunny spot for your growing and make sure that you have easy access to a water source. A long hose is your best friend!
Mood Board: Creating a mood board of what your ideal/dream garden could look like, either using an app like Pinterest or a good old-fashioned collage. Explore different colour combinations of plants and don’t forget to add in water features, outdoor furniture and anything else that takes your fancy, dream big!
Sowing calendar: Start your planning by considering what produce you’d be most excited to grow (and eat) and start plotting in your calendar when you should start growing each plant. You could use Miracle-Gro’s UK vegetable planting calendar as a starting point.
(Pre)Spring clean: A quick but satisfying job is raking your lawn to remove any dead grass, leaves and debris from the winter months.
Love your lawn: Raking your lawn may reveal some bare patches in need of TLC. Lightly fork over the patch and sprinkle over some topsoil or compost. Following pack instructions scatter over the grass seed and finally cover the seed with a light sprinkling of compost and water sparingly with a watering can.
Weeds no more: As well as the plants that we intend to grow, weeds also start to put on growth in spring. Tackle them now before they take hold either by pulling out at the root or for a convenient option, use a weedkiller such as RoundUp NL Weed Control Ready to Use; a natural, easy to use weedkiller in a spray bottle. You’ll see visible results in just 3 hours and the area will be ready for replanting in 24 hours!
Pleasure in preparation: If your vegetable patch is in the ground rather than a raised bed, improve your soil by adding a nutrient-rich compost like Miracle-Gro Performance Organics Fruit & Veg. Gently fork a good layer about 3 inches into your existing soil for bumper crops!
Burst of flowers: In spring, your local garden centre will start selling flower plugs, such as pansy, primrose and polyanthus plants. Create a colourful spring display in a container by filling it up with bursts of spring colour. After your last frost, fill the pot with compost, add the plants by carefully removing them from their pots and into a hole deep enough for the root ball. Firm them in, adding more compost if needed.
Encourage garden wildlife: Put out additional bird food during the spring breeding season and then stack logs and twigs from your spring clean to create a wildlife corner. Little ones will love nature-spotting in the garden and spying different birds and other creatures is a great home-learning opportunity.
Mulching: Mulching your trees and shrubs helps to retain soil moisture, suppress weeds, and insulate plant roots. Miracle-Gro Premium Fibre Smart Mulch is a peat-free mulch option. Make sure the soil is weed-free and moist and then add at least 2 inches of mulch, gently raking afterwards to level the surface.
Time for tomatoes: For those of us who are short of time, purchasing young plants from your local garden centre in nursery pots is a perfect time-saving hack. For your 15-minute job, pot up each plant into a larger pot filled with good quality multi-purpose compost and place somewhere sheltered and sunny.
Pond in a pot: Create a mini pond by choosing a glazed pot without a drainage hole. Partly fill with water and add a plant such as a miniature waterlily still in its pot. Then, top up with water and place the pot anywhere in your garden/patio or even balcony.
Herb tea garden: Choose a large container and fill with gritty compost for good drainage. Add pots of herbs such as camomile or lemon balm and add small gravel to the surface to stop compost from splashing the leaves when watered. If mint tea is your favourite, grow it in a separate container as this plant will soon take over.
Upcycle: Instead of buying plastic pots, upcycle items such as tin cans, ice cream tubs, colanders and even old boots. With a bit of decoration, you can have a home crafted and environmentally friendly plant pot! This is a great activity to with children just remember that an adult will need to add drainage holes.
Make room for more: Just because you have limited space, doesn’t mean you can’t grow plants and produce. Spend time planning your space and consider what you want to prioritise, literally thinking outside the box. If you have a patio or terrace then the only way is up! Growing plants up walls and fences makes the most of your space as well as giving you a bigger choice of plants to grow. Creating surfaces of different heights for pots and small planters will increase your growing space as well as looking gorgeous. A windowsill can make the perfect spot for herbs and tomatoes plants, so get your creative juices flowing, do some research and the sky (literally) is your limit!
To find out more, visit www.lovethegarden.com